Show Preview | Escalante Canyons Art Festival

Escalante, UT
Various locations, September 22-October 1

Maureen Sheldon, Lost on Sheffield Road, woodcut print, 36 x 24.

Maureen Sheldon, Lost on Sheffield Road, woodcut print, 36 x 24.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Off the beaten path of the Colorado Plateau and nestled in red-rock country sits Escalante, UT. It is here, between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, that over 100 artists and artisans gather for the 14th annual Escalante Canyons Arts Festival. The weeklong event boasts a wide range of southwestern art of all kinds, including jewelry, ceramics, photography, wooden crafts, fiber goods, and fine painting.

The highlight of the event is the plein-air competition, which begins on Friday, September 22. Artists are given six full days to paint across three counties that envelope the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. During a paint-out on Tuesday, September 26, artists focus their talents on celebrating the monument, which covers almost 2 million acres. “All of the proceeds from that sale go toward the monument,” says plein-air chairperson Ruthanne Oliver. “They will benefit partners who are instrumental in promoting the monument and doing scientific studies to preserve it.” There is also a nocturnal paint-out on Saturday, September 23.

While all of the paintings completed during the week are for sale, artists may submit only one painting in each category for the competition. Entries are divided by medium, and subject matter ranges from historic architecture to traditional landscapes. “The landscapes can be anything,” Oliver says. “We have mountains, pine trees, and lakes on one side, and then you go down to the desert with the red rocks on the other side.” Three judges decide the winners for each category. Artists participating in the competition include Scott Geary, Bonnie Zahn Griffith, Stephen Van Handel, and Peggy Trigg.

In addition to the plein-air competition, the festival includes 60 booths displaying fine crafts, workshops, and lectures by established artists. “The festival has always been billed as a working festival geared toward all skill levels,” Oliver says. “We invite people to come and learn and be inspired.” —Mackenzie McCreary

contact information
www.escalantecanyonsartfestival.org

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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